Former Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh has said his party will withdraw support to the Women's Reservation Bill during its passage in the Lok Sabha if the government tried 'backdoor' reservation for minorities in the measure.
"The BJP is clear that the strength of the Bill is its non-communal nature. This country was once divided on the basis of religion. The BJP will not support the Bill if the government tries backdoor representation for Muslims (in Parliament)," Singh told The Week news magazine in an interview.
The BJP has credited itself with helping the United Progressive Alliance government pass the legislation in the Rajya Sabha.
"(Nationalist Congress Party chief) Sharad Pawar had reportedly appealed to (Janata Dal - United chief) Sharad Yadav, (Rashtriya Janata Dal chief) Lalu Prasad and (Samajwadi Party supremo) Mulayam Singh Yadav to support the Bill in exchange for reservation within the Bill for Muslim women. I also hear that the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi have agreed to that. The BJP will oppose this approach totally," he said.
When asked whether opposing reservation for minorities will 'confirm' the alleged anti-Muslim bias of the BJP, Singh said if his party was anti-minority, then it would not have supported the Mandal Commission's recommendations.
"Seventy per cent of beneficiaries of the recommendations are Muslims. The BJP has supported whatever is necessary for nation building," the BJP leader said.
Singh maintained that reservation within reservation for minorities will be against the spirit of the Constitution and added that political, social, economic and cultural empowerment of the masses with an 'unbiased approach' was the only way out.